When numerous different organisms co-exist in an ecosystem (biodiversity), the ecosystem services of benefit to humans are often improved. This occurs because the different living creatures are mutually complementary in their functions.
Standard Mixtures for Forage Production
In Switzerland, grassland plants are sown almost exclusively in mixtures. In the ‘meadows and pastures’ ecosystem, the combination of different plant species and genotypes brings advantages in terms of higher productivity, stability and nutrient efficiency with a lower proportion of weeds. With the concerted cultivation and management of mixtures, these advantages have been successfully exploited in Swiss forage production for decades. Agroscope plays a vital role here by developing and continually improving the standard mixtures for forage production.
Our involvement in Europe-wide studies has shown the extent of the advantages of mixtures over monocultures for both production and the environment. In current projects, we study the fundamental processes responsible for these advantages.
Worldwide forage-plant breeding continually improves the productivity, disease resistance and forage quality of grass and clover cultivars. However, only a small number of these new cultivars are well adapted to Swiss growth conditions and management. To determine the best varieties for Switzerland, these new cultivars must therefore be tested regularly in Swiss conditions. According to the Swiss Seed and Planting Stock Ordinance, responsibility for the variety testing of forage plants lies with the Agroscope research institutes. With well-supported variety trials of several years’ duration under different open-air conditions, Agroscope looks for the best cultivars for productive grasslands. This systematic variety testing is the basis of the biennial revision of the List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants. In Switzerland, grassland plants are sown almost exclusively in mixtures. These ‘standard mixtures for forage production’ are developed and published by Agroscope.
The ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants' is updated periodically by Agroscope. It forms the basis for standard mixtures and other high-quality forage-plant seed mixtures, and as such is of vital importance for Swiss seed companies. The document can be downloaded from the link on the right.
Appendix to the “List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants" (PDF, 139 kB, 25.01.2021)The appendix contains English translations of the most important terms used in the ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants‘.